Do you feel like you're always putting others first? Do you feel like you can never do anything right unless you're pleasing someone else? If so, then you may be codependent.
Codependency is a type of dysfunctional relationship where one person sacrifices their own happiness in order to please the other person. This is not healthy, and it will only lead to unhappiness for both people involved. Here we will discuss some ways that you can break free of codependency and start living a happier life!
Understanding what co-dependency is and how it affects your life
Codependency is a type of relationship that is characterized by one person relying on the other in order to feel good about themselves. It's where you depend on another for your sense of identity, security and self-worth. You can look at codependency as "relationship addiction"- where one person cannot survive without the other. For example, someone with codependent traits might try too hard to not cause conflict by being supportive no matter what anyone else says or does because he/she fears rejection. Any relationship can be codependent- Romantic, Friendships and Family Relationships. Unfortunately, in a codependent relationship instead of the other person bringing out the best in you, it will cause you to stop caring about yourself and lose sight of living a healthy lifestyle and accomplishing your goals.
Recognizing the signs
Do you find yourself always putting someone else's needs before your own? Are you constantly worried about what the other person is thinking or doing? Do you feel unfulfilled and are starting to resent your partner?
Here are some tell-tale signs of codependency:
Lack of Boundaries
Need for constant approval from others
Your relationship is one-sided
A Pattern of avoiding conflict
Fear of rejection
Constant thinking about the relationship
Focus on Caretaking/Being the Giver
Apologizing and taking the blame to keep the peace
Sacrifice yourself/needs to please the other person
Personality is dependent on others
No life outside the relationship
Staying in abusive because you think you can fix it
5 Ways to Break Free of Codependency
The first step is to become aware of your codependent behavior. What are you giving up so the other person can be happy? Are you fearful that your partner does not love you? Are you only participating in activities they want to do? Are you making your own decisions? If you can identify the ways in which you are sacrificing your own happiness, then you can start to work on changing those behaviors.
Give yourself permission to make your own decisions. Don't let anyone else control your life! You are the only one who knows what is best for you, and you should trust your own intuition when it comes to making decisions. Think of yourself for a change and allow yourself to focus on self-care. Get to know yourself again - YOUR wants and YOUR needs!
3. Set boundaries and learn to say no
It's important to set boundaries in order to protect yourself emotionally. Start by identifying what behaviors or situations make you uncomfortable and communicate those boundaries to the other person. Allow yourself to honor your feelings first and say no if you are being put in a spot that becomes overwhelming.
4. Face Your Fear
What are you afraid of? Are you afraid that if you don't put others first, they will leave you? Are you afraid that you won't be able to make it on your own? As we know, the fear of rejection is severe in a codependent relationship. By facing your fear and proving to yourself that the worst won't happen, you can change your inner dialogue and start to tap into your deepest innermost insecurities, gain confidence and live your life!
Whatever may scare you - stop denying it!
5. Seek Support
A great way to break free of codependency is to get professional help. This can be in the form of therapy or a support group for people who are dealing with codependent relationships. A safe space for you to work with someone that is experienced or has been in the same types of relationships will open you to recovery and hope. Ask for help!
Codependency can be a tough pattern to change. Once you recognize the signs and how it can truly affect your life you can start to untangle yourself from these destructive relationships and reclaim your independence. Start slowly, building new skill sets and honoring your feelings to create healthy mutually beneficial relationships. You are worth it!
Peaceful Living Mental Health Counseling, PLLC, is a wellness and counseling center in Westchester, NY.
Our therapists specialize in the most evidenced-based treatments for children and parents, teens and adults and first responders. Our services include therapy for: anxiety, trauma, behavioral disorders, improving relationships and eating disorders.